How we develop through play part 2: The impact of play on learning


Many can recollect the days of youth, when adults would initiate a game, but it quickly turned into reading flash cards – the classic bait and switch. Kids tend to sigh or become bored during the games that seem to be intellectual traps to help them learn. Yet, the freedom of play in general can have a positive impact on learning without being so literal.

Family fun month

The month of August is known to many as Family Fun Month. The idea behind Family Fun Month is to bring families together through various activities. In many cases, August signifies the end for children and their summertime freedom. Instead of being gloomy, this month can be spent having fun. Some of these activities include but are not limited to:

  • Family bike ride
  • Trip to the zoo
  • Building a fort
  • Going on a vacation
  • Going fishing

There is an impact on learning from the time spent in play for children. Through the various methods of recreation, sports, games and pretend.

Impact on learning

In an attempt to raise children well, parents search for only the best and hope their child will end up successful. Playing a sport or a game of tag is not going to automatically make a child smarter. However, playtime has been found to benefit cognitive, social and physical development.

The University of Delaware has a website dedicated to displaying the benefits of play on child development. The university finds children will have benefits in cognitive function including creativity, abstract thinking and problem solving. A few of the educational benefits include:

  • Encouraging children to explore and discover together and on their own.
  • Providing opportunities for collaborative learning with adults and peers.
  • Allowing children to practice their skills.
  • Allowing children to extend what they are learning.

Children can take what they learn in school or from parents and apply it to how they play. With the National Association for the Education of Young children, Kyle Snow, Ph.D., researches the benefits of children playing pretend. After Snow summarizes, “There is a role of pretend play in early childhood education, even if it is not central.”

Playtime has an impact on learning and creativity. Even within the realms of make believe, children can apply or expand on ideas they have learned in school.

White River Academy is a residential boarding school for troubled boys 12 to 17, located at the edge of the majestic Great Basin in Delta, Utah. Daily activities include leisure and autonomously innovated service projects rekindle that sense of imagination and visionary thinking from which the boys may have lost their way. We have crafted deliberate and holistic treatments and activities to truncate negative patterns of behavior — whether caused by mental health disorders, or debilitating addictions. To learn more about our treatment modalities and curriculum, please call 866-520-0905.

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